Tyler Zeller Falling
KSR College debuts on Monday, but until then the writers are still churning out good pieces. This look by Jonathan Schuette is an interesting overview of the effect of the Charge Circle on offensive output. IF the goal was to make scoring go down, then it has certainly done that. For more writing such as this, go to KSRCollege.com and support the kids.
As you may have noticed while watching College Basketball this season there is a strange painted arc underneath both baskets. These semi-circles are called “Charge Circles” and they were implemented to prevent the defender from blocking the basket when the offensive player has established position. To put it simply, if the defender is inside the arc and blocks the offensive player, it is an automatic block call. But this circle has caused a lot of uproar in the College Basketball world, mainly because it seems as though more charges are being called. The most incorrect calls seem to be coming from outside the charge circle. It almost seems to me that the referees assume that if an offensive player runs over a defender outside the charge circle, it must be a charge. So, I set out to statistically prove that the “Charge Circle” was actually hindering the progress of offense in College Basketball, rather than helping it.
As you will learn about me, I am a huge believer in the work of Basketball Statistician, Dean Oliver. He is the discoverer of the “Four Factors.” The Four Factors are Effective Field Goal Percentage (3-point shots are given 50% more credit than 2-point shots), Turnover Rate (Turnovers divided by Possessions), Offensive Rebound Rate (% of available Offensive rebounds obtained), and finally Free Throw Rate (Free throw attempts divided by shots attempted). If you can do three of those things well on both sides of the ball, chances are you’re a very good ball club. This is also the system Ken Pomeroy uses to come up with his ratings. Now, here’s how all of this relates to the Charge Circle.
According to Ken Pomeroy’s site, Kenpom.com, there has been a decrease in many offensive categories from last season. Here are the data to prove the claim. (These data are the Division-1 average.)
(The charge is not an official statistic, so it’s not kept. I was forced to use different data.)
As you can see, four different categories of offense have been affected by this rule change. It should be noted that Adjusted Offensive Efficiency is not one of the Four Factors; it is the total combination of all Four Factors. It simply means how many points a team would score in 100 possessions against average competition. Now that that is out of the way let’s go into depth about the three affected “Four Factors.” Effective Field Goal Percentage has dropped slightly. To explain, teams are forced to take lower percentage shots farther away from the basket in fear of a taking charge call near the basket. Nationally, 3-point attempts have risen slightly from 32.9% to 33.0%, while 2-point field goal percentage has slightly dropped as well from 47.8% last season to 47.7% this season. This proves teams are starting to move away from the basket offensively. Turnover Rate is up as well this season; charges are considered turnovers so this increase is self-explanatory. Finally, the Free Throw Rate is down as a whole this season. This is also self-explanatory. If a team is committing more charges, they are not getting to the free throw line as often because the defense was given the benefit of the doubt.
So you may be asking yourself, “What can be done about this problem?” I think that the solution is easy to see. If the charge in question can be interpreted as a 50/50 call, the benefit of the doubt must be given to the offensive player. After all the Charge Circle was put into place to help the offensive player, so why isn’t it helping? I tend to think that referee incompetence is the source of this (See the “Blarge”). Which raises another question, why are referees never held accountable for their actions? But, that’s another article for another day. In conclusion, to make Collegiate Basketball a more offensive oriented game like the NBA it must be officiated like such. The “Surrender and Flop” or “Tyler Zeller” defense as I call it must be stopped; it’s starting to ruin the game. Viewing a charge as good defense should no longer be accepted; it should be viewed as surrender. If you take a charge you are surrendering, you’re no better than a smelly, cowardly Frenchmen. And honestly, who wants to be viewed as an awful Frenchmen?
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